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Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball aiming for higher spot in Mission League

With key starting returners to the fold, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy has league championship aspirations in mind.

August 31, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team will look to add to its banners with a Mission League championship in 2013.
The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

Expectations have normally been sky high throughout the history of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball program, though they perhaps waned over the last few seasons.

The Tologs have won a couple of CIF championships, advanced to the state tournament and won multiple Mission League titles.

It’s not something that’s lost on Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Ernest Banaag, who saw his team surge during the second half of league last season before advancing to the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs.

Banaag and the Tologs spent most of last season adjusting to each other. Without a transition process in store, Banaag and Co. have aspirations to win a league championship and make a deep postseason run this season.

“Last year, we were getting to know each other and looking for ways to make the system work,” said Banaag, who guided Mayfield to three straight CIF titles between 2008-10. “We got it figured out and finished up strong.

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“We have a lot of people back from last year and we want to take it to the next level. The expectation is to win league and we are very vocal about it. Why not have high expectations?”

The Tologs were the lone local squad to qualify for the playoffs last season.

Flintridge Sacred Heart appears to be in good shape for a return trip. It will feature a lineup consisting of junior setter Sophia Coffey, senior middle blocker Katie Conley, senior outside hitter Maddie Peterson, junior libero Emily DeVille and freshman outside hitter Kayla Lund.

“We are going to have quite a few people who can put balls away,” Banaag said. “We are also going to be focusing more on tightening up on defense and sticking to our blocking schemes.”

Crescenta Valley figures to rely on several key seniors to provide leadership and help return the Falcons back to the playoffs after missing out last season following a fifth-place finish in the Pacific League.

Leading the way for the Falcons, who are coached by Jen Ku Lee, are senior libero Rosa Kwak, senior setter Cassidy Iannello, senior outside hitter Nanette Grigorian, junior outside hitter Emmie Walker and junior opposite Michaela Guarino.

“We want to get back to the playoffs after just missing out last year,” Lee said. “I expect us to be a big blocking team that’s also good fundamentally.”

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